A hooklift is the swiss army knife of trucks for business owners with high demands for hauling. The average person will likely see hooklift trucks on the road every day without realizing how they work or all they’re capable of.
Business owners across a wide range of industries choose hooklifts for their unabashed focus on utility — there’s really no better word to describe the purpose these trucks serve and how beneficial they are.
If you’re considering purchasing a hooklift truck, but aren’t sure if it’s time to spend the money, keep reading to explore the various types of hooklifts and options available, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of working with a hooklift.
What Is a Hooklift?
Put simply, a hooklift is a device that’s mounted to trucks to help them transport materials like waste, recycling, scrap, forestry, and demolition. These devices consist of a series of hydraulic ranks that allow haulers to change the types of roll-off containers, and hook, lift, and carry them.
They allow haulers to load and unload materials at a ground-level. They can carry materials of different sizes and weights, and therefore help cut back on the number of vehicles you need to get a given job done. They’re also great for hauling more fragile objects.
Kinds of Hooklift Bodies
With varying options, you’ll want to take time to explore them and be sure to get the hooklift body that is right for you and your business needs. Some common options are platform bodies which can carry equipment, dumpster bodies which are good for garbage removal, mason bodies that are good for hauling tools, and chipper bodies that can be used when tree trimming. There are, of course, other options out there but these tend to be most used and will likely cover you for whatever your job may be.
Hooklift Bodies in Your Industry
You may wonder if a hooklift body is even necessary. Consider your industry and needs when weighing the benefits of installing a hooklift body on your truck. In some industries you can commonly find hooklift bodies like: mining, heavy construction, waste removal, logging, demolition, recycling, landscaping and construction, along with many others. If you are in any of these industries or something similar, you would likely benefit from a hooklift body, making your day-to-day more efficient with their unique capabilities.
No matter what type of hooklift set up you choose, keep in mind that there are plenty of options for hooklift truck customization that can tailor the system to meet the specific needs of your industry and business.
Key Considerations for Your Hooklift System
To get the most out of your hooklift system, be sure to carefully consider the following:
Sliding or Tilting, or Both?
How you use the hooklift depends on what you’re using it for. A combination slide and tilt, for example, allows for low angles when changing bodies or transferring the body to and from a drawbar trailer. This is especially helpful for when there is low headroom.
More or Less Power and Reach
If the intended work is receptive, you don’t need to pay extra for power reserves you probably don’t need. Though, if you often need a power boost close to the body, you may need to spend that extra money. Being able to make that extra-long reach means you can complete jobs your competitors may not be able to.
Frequency of Changing, Tipping, and Lowering
Knowing how often you’ll be using each feature can help you select the best hooklift system for your company. For example, waste pickup and recycling requires frequent body changes. If you’re transporting things like soil and gravel, you’ll be doing quite a bit of dumping. The faster your new hooklift completes these tasks, the more efficiently your teams can work. As we all know, time saved is money earned. Your hooklift should have good sequence and speed options.
Taller Demountable Bodies
With taller demountable bodies, you can carry additional payload each trip. That also means added weight and height so you would need a booklet with lower installation height and lighter weight.
Controls for Budget and Safety
Control systems vary from standard pneumatic controls to hi-tech Programmable Logic Controls (PLC). Here is an instance where you should think about your current as well as your future needs. Right now you might only need in-cab and outside controls. Will your project(s) need radio control in the future? If your budget allows, choose a hooklift system that is flexible in case you want to retrofit.
It goes without saying that safety is a must. Look for important safety features like safety interlocks and stabilizers. Also look for automatic latches and alert features to let you know when conditions aren’t right.
Pollution and Noise
If your work takes you to areas with noise regulations, you’ll want a hooklift that complies with them. Look for one that has short cycle times, less friction, and lower engine RPMs.
Fuel consumption is always a budget concern. It’s an environmental concern as well. You’ll have to weigh your needs against the hooklift option. Some of the variables are the weight of the lift, amount of payload per trip, type of hydraulics, and regenerative systems.
The resale value is something to consider. If you plan to upgrade or change your hooklift truck someday, you’ll want to purchase a durable lift now. Also, take a look at the warranty and long-term service offered.
Advantages of a Hooklift Truck
If you’re still on the fence about whether to purchase a hooklift truck, here are some of the key ways they can benefit your business and take your truck fleet to new heights:
A Hooklift is a Truck You’ll Use:
You’ve probably arrived at the prospect of owning a hooklift truck because your business demands its abilities. Here are some examples of hooklift bodies in action:
- Cement Mixer
- Dump Frame
- Storage Bodies
While this list doesn’t cover all of the options available for a hooklift truck, it does illustrate the main point of its existence – flexibility. With a strong body-on-frame truck and tons of options for how to use it, you now have the freedom to make one truck do lots of work.
Hooklifts are a Tool for Consolidation:
“One truck fits all” is a phrase that can be applied directly to the heavy duty hooklift truck. This is a fantastic tool at your disposal, allowing for a wide range of uses without the requirement to buy many trucks (that gets costly in a hurry!).
Buy one truck, employ one operator, and rent the hooklift bodies as needed to keep your budget down for the immediate future. Otherwise, buy the bodies you’re likely to use on a regular basis and rent the unlikely options to keep your budget down for the long haul.
Either way, the theme here is the need to own and operate one truck that does many things to help you and your business succeed. Changeovers between the different hooklift bodies are handled in just a few minutes or less, so time is also on your side!
Did we mention it’s only one truck and one operator to insure? That sounds awfully budget-friendly to us!
Hooklift Trucks Are Versatile:
Perhaps the best thing about the hooklifts is how versatile they are. You can attach different bodies to the truck to turn it into whatever you need. The hooklift makes it easy to switch beds without a whole lot of fuss.
Need a tilt frame container for hauling mulch or dirt? Simply hoist the container onto the truck and voila.
Maybe you need a big dumpster that can be dropped and lifted easily for a home renovation. Maybe you need a flatbed for transporting oversized items, like big lumber.
Hooklifts are capable of handling any type of job you need. Simply hoist on the container that suits your needs and get started.
They’re Better Than Roll-Off Trucks:
While roll-off cable system trucks are certainly strong, hooklifts have the edge in accuracy and convenience.
With hooklifts, you don’t have to get out of the driver’s seat to hook any cables up. It’s as simple as can be, saving you time and energy for not having to mess around with cables.
They’re also more accurate than roll-off trucks. They’re better at placing your container in the exact spot you need it in.
You can also pick up containers that are up to 30 degrees off center in a hooklift truck, whereas roll-off cable systems require 100% location accuracy to work effectively.
They’re Highly Customizable:
As mentioned above, another great thing about hooklifts is how customizable they are. Regardless of your industry, there’s truck customization for your specific needs.
Say you know for a fact that you want a pickup dump body truck. You want the power of the hooklift, but know you won’t really want to change out the bed for any other purpose.
Perhaps you need a new work truck. You’re constantly carting around tools and machinery, so you need something with lots of storage. You also occasionally need to haul tons of material.
You can order a customized hooklift that’s made for your exact purposes, with permanent or interchangeable parts to fit each day’s work.
No Cables Required:
Compared to other types of trucks, a hooklift truck doesn’t use cables to install containers — they use a hydraulic system instead. The advantage of hydraulics eliminates the cost of having to replace cables that may wear down or break over time.
Considering there are no cables required, drivers do not have to get out of the cabin to connect cables to the container. While it cuts down on time, it may be wise to leave the cabin to double check the container as a safety precaution before loading it anyway.
Hooklift Trucks Are Accurate:
Since hooklifts aren’t limited in range due to cables that need clearance space, they have the ability to drop containers in exact positions. This small advantage can cut down tons of time when it comes to unloading materials.
Hooklifts Are Efficient & Productive:
These trucks are able to pick up and drop off containers within 90 seconds. Part of this increased speed is due to the fact that there are no cables, and drivers can control the machine from within the cabin. The increased efficiency that hooklift trucks bring means you can get more work done in less amount of time, as compared to other trucks.
And They’re Secure:
Depending on the truck, there will be different locking mechanisms for containers. Due to the multiple locking mechanisms on a hooklift, they are great when it comes to keeping goods safe during transit. If you’re looking for a truck that you can rely on and drive without added worry of accidents happening while on the road, then a hooklift truck is the right one for you.
Disadvantages of Hooklift Trucks
Though there are far fewer disadvantages than advantages, there are still a few potential drawbacks worth considering before making the investment:
- While ground-level loading and unloading is easier, it can also be a disadvantage. This depends on the ground the haulers are working on. Certain weather conditions such as ice and flooding can make this process dangerous.
- Any uneven terrain can also make the hoist lay unevenly, causing inadequate loading. This includes unloading on a steep surface such as a hill. Unloading at maximum angles can become a safety hazard for haulers.
- The container lengths associated with a truck that has a hooklift aren’t very flexible. Before choosing to buy one, keep this in mind. If you regularly use the same container, then a hooklift truck might be a good option; if you don’t, you could be quite limited when it comes to changing what you need to transport.
- Also, these aren’t cheap vehicles. You need to be aware of your budget. They can range anywhere from $25,000 to $65,000 depending on their make and features. Though it will save you money in the long run with so many capabilities and only one vehicle to insure, the initial cost is a factor to consider.
- Understandably, fuel consumption is another factor at play. These can use quite a bit of fuel and produce higher emissions than other trucks. For the green business owner, this might be a drawback. However, with careful planning, a hooklift will likely still save you money and trouble over time.
- Finally, there is the learning curve for operating a hooklift truck. Safety is of utmost importance, and they make hooklifts for operators of varying degrees. Make sure you’re purchasing one that is within your comfort zone to ensure maximum safety.
All things considered, the vast advantages of hooklift trucks outweigh these disadvantages for most businesses and industries.
Is a Hooklift Truck Right for You?
If you’ve made it this far and are serious about purchasing a hooklift truck, be sure to ask yourself these questions before making a final decision:
Do You Work in an Area With Noise Regulations?
Some cities and suburbs enforce strict noise regulations. If you operate a hooklift in one of these areas, you need to get one with reduced engine RMPS. Your hooklift should be able to accommodate these requirements with short cycle times and less friction.
Do you Have the Budget for a Hooklift?
Hooklift trucks are a financial investment, and their cost can differ greatly by the type of hooklift you buy. A hooklift truck can cost you between $25,000 and $60,000, so you should determine in advance if that’s a price you can afford. The good thing is that a hooklift will ultimately save you money by cutting back on the vehicles and manpower you need to complete your jobs.
How Important is Fuel Consumption to You?
Fuel consumption isn’t only bad for the environment, it can be bad for your business budget. Before you buy a hooklift, you should consider the energy-efficiency of the lift and what your payload per trip would be. By looking at these things as well as the weight of the frame and the regenerative systems, you can cut back on fuel, emissions, and costs.
What Features Do You Need & How Much Do You Know About Operating a Lift?
Hooklifts are available with different types of control systems, so before you buy you should consider what features you may need to get the most out of your lift. Do you only need in-cab and outside controls or do you want programmable logic controls? Consider these things before you buy a state-of-the-art option you don’t need or settle for a basic option that won’t get the job done.
If you’re not familiar with operating a hooklift, you should look at options that ensure greater safety. Many options will come with automatic latches, safety interlocks, and smart functions that will reduce your risk of accidents or injuries.
Get a Quote for a Hooklift Truck
In summary, hooklifts are a great solution for businesses that need a versatile work truck with tons of capabilities and customization options. They are the magical 10-in-1 truck that every fleet needs.
Ready to invest in your own hooklift truck? Our Custom Truck Equipment Sales and Installation Department is one of the largest in the Northwest, and carries only the highest quality truck parts and equipment at competitive prices.
Contact us and request a hooklift truck quote to explore your options further and get started today!